Trouvadore Shipwreck

Rediscovering Island History

In participation with the Turks & Caicos Museum, The Hartling Group is a premium sponsor in funding the search for the Trouvadore shipwreck. The Trouvadore, a Brigantine sailing under Spanish papers from Santiago, Cuba, sank off the shores of the Turks & Caicos. As a result of the shipwreck, 89 men, 26 women, 39 boys, 11 girls and 3 infants destined for slavery, were absorbed into the community as free residents.

The Hartling Group is keen to uncover the history of the Trouvadore, as well as any artifacts from the shipwreck, in order to provide a tangible historical asset to the island. The shipwreck is significant to the Turk & Caicos Islands because the 1843 census conducted by the Bahamas government recorded the island's population as 2495; if all 168 liberated Africans from the Trouvadore had survived until 1843 they would have made up 6.7% of the population, and therefore highlight an important African link to the community.

This discovery and subsequent connection to African ancestry is significant to establish local ties to the past and to re-stimulate appreciation of local cultural roots. The Hartling Group and the Cultural Department on the island are eager to preserve the arts, crafts, music and storytelling culture, as well as create formal and informal education channels to engage young islanders to their local history.

The story of the Trouvadore is not just a national story. Rather, its discovery and subsequent exhibition will provide a historical perspective on the little covered transitional period from Slavery to emancipation in the Americas. Stan Hartling is a strong supporter of expanding local cultural knowledge and increasing community pride, and hopes that the discovery and identification of the Trouvadore slave ship is imminent.